Each year my husband and I look forward to participating in the Veterans Day promotions and freebies. If you serve in the military or are the spouse of a solider, you’re probably used to receiving an email with a list of places offering specials, discounts and activities in celebration of Veterans Day. While I enjoy taking advantage of an opportunity to fit in a lunch date with the hubby, I realize just how easy it can be to lose sight of the significance of what this special day is really about.
Veterans Day is more than a day to give a free meal to those who serve and their families, it’s a day to pay tribute and honor to those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. They chose to answer the call of duty to protect their fellow American citizens so that we can live in freedom.
Many do not know the hard, unfortunate facts that surround soldiers after they serve. There are currently 49,933 homeless veterans, 450,000 veterans actively seeking a job, 300,000 of the 1.7 million veterans who served in Afghanistan/ Iraq (20%) suffer from PTSD or a form of depression and 8,000 veterans sadly commit suicide every year.
There are soldiers who now are learning to adjust to a new way of life due to physical accommodations, spouses who only have the last voicemail or email from their loved one to hang onto, children who have no mother/father to eagerly welcome home and parents who experienced the one unrequested desire of burying their child.
On this Veterans Day, I personally chose to remind my soldier just how much I appreciate the sacrifice he makes for his very own family and country. He’s greater and more important than any Superman, Spiderman, Batman or Avenger. He’s a hero to his children, his wife, his community and his country — for every year his duty has called him to serve and protect, for every field assignment that he’s had to go on, for every late night of work or days we’ve had to be apart without communication, for every Hail and Farewell or FRG meeting attended — answering the call to walk alongside him as his wife has been worth them all.
So as you partake in the festivities and promotions surrounding Veterans Day, just as my family will, I also ask that you find a way to personally thank our service members for the sacrifice that they and their families make. In addition, pause for a moment to remember those whose lives have been lost for your freedom and make a personal decision to support and pray for our soldiers beyond November 11.
Happy Veterans Day to the men and women who answered the call to protect and serve!
Special Events and Promotions for Veterans and Their Families
If you’re looking for some great opportunities to support and honor our soldiers on this day, check out these activities and special events happening around town.
Veterans from across the state will gather in downtown Columbia on Veterans Day, for the City of Columbia’s annual Veterans Day Parade, one of the Southeast’s largest Veterans Day parades. This year’s parade marshals are the Vietnam Veterans.
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Downtown Columbia – the parade begins at the intersection of Sumter and Laurel streets, and travels southbound on Sumter Street, ending at Pendleton Street near the State House.
Active duty and retired military personnel with a military ID card receive free admission in honor of Veterans Day.
Time: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Location: 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia, SC 29210
On Veterans Day, customers who come in for a haircut at any U.S. Great Clips salon will receive a free haircut card to give to an active, inactive, retired, disabled and reserve members from any military branch, including the National Guard. Military members can also come in on Veterans Day for a free haircut or to pick up a free haircut card to use, with proof of service, any day before December 31, 2015.
This Veterans Day 2015, Hair Cuttery is giving back to former service men and women through its Share-a-Haircut program. For every adult haircut purchased on Veterans Day, a free haircut certificate will be donated back to a veteran in communities local to Hair Cuttery’s almost 900 locations. In each market, Hair Cuttery will partner with local veterans’ organizations to reach those in need through the donation of haircut certificates.
Valid on Veterans Day only with a valid ID. And for the rest of the year, they’re giving 15% off to military personnel—plus their families. Come in November 12 through December 31 to enjoy your discount, with valid military ID.
You must dine in, and the free food is from a limited menu, but it includes any lunch combo as well as other items. Beverages and gratuity are not included. Veterans and active duty military members must simply show proof of military service to take advantage of this offer. Dine-in only.
Veterans and active duty military to enjoy a free entrée from a select menu of favorites. Family members dining with them enjoy 10% off of their meals.
Applebee’s invites vets and active duty military to come have a meal on them from a select menu of favorites. Dine-in only.
Enjoy a free lunch from their special Veterans Day menu. Includes choice of Coca-Cola product, tea or coffee. Veterans and active duty military members must simply show proof of military service to take advantage of this offer. Dine-in only.
Mark this Veterans Day 2015 with a trip to AMF and create a new tradition with the veterans close to you. As a special thank you, they’re offering free bowling to all veterans! This offer includes shoes and 2 free games all day with a valid military ID.
— Know of a deal not listed? Tell us about it. —